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Poster: leftwinger57 Date: Jun 11, 2014 5:36am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: tuning and knoodling

After seeing the Stones rattle of about 40 songs w/ guitar changes and all I can't remember any tuning on any gutiar. Same with most bands I had the pleasure of seeing. I do fully understand that when in the outside enviorment that the sun and humidity can play havoc with the tuning. Now comes Jerry and this used to drive me so nuts I just did not get it till well I got it. This guy a professional player maybe playing since 12 years old and needs to take what seemed like an eternity to tune his guitar. What have since learned and figured out because of the fabled no written set list deal the prolonged tuning and knoodling was to get all the pedal settings right and at the same being a cue to what was coming next. Yes sometimes there were false starts and teases but for the most part this is the only thing that makes any sense. Like I said the 1st thing you do when learning how to play a guitar is knowing how to tune it and keep it in tune and to tune your instrument for the key needed. You can disagaree but that's the conclusion I've come up w/ after some many waits for the music to start. Part of the mystic, maybe but enoying for me. True they are not a radio friendly band and play very long songs as the premire jam band and I call them the most unoriginal original band ever w/ playing what some say is over 300 covers, mostly great versions that worked. Can you agree w/ my assertion here that Jerry cleary knew how to easily tune a guitar with in seconds if he had to.

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Poster: ColdRain108 Date: Jun 11, 2014 10:25am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: tuning and knoodling

I always thought they were being considerate by giving me a few minutes of peaceful quiet between songs to re-gather my senses in preparation for the next onslaught to my consciousness. I never figured they spent all that time tuning...more likely just dicking around.

When I saw CSN, Stills must have had 30 guitars in the rack. He's grab a new one after every song, seemed really silly as I was used to the guitarist (Jerry) only playing one single instrument the whole show, show after show. A freshly tech-tuned guitar for each song would speed things up...but why?

This wasn't simply a "professional" rock show, THANK GOD!!!!!!!! I've seen plenty of those, they are nothing remotely like a Grateful Dead show, more like a play with well rehearsed lines spoken exactly the same every time and perfectly designed stage props, no room allowed for the unexpected.

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Poster: c-freedom Date: Jun 11, 2014 1:53pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: tuning and knoodling

Grateful Dead Historically > 1970-1995
Tuning: less over time
Song Selection: More over time
Set lists: shorter over time
Set Breaks: longer over time?
Covers and Originals: Always more covers?

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Poster: Dudley Dead Date: Jun 11, 2014 4:43pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: tuning and knoodling

I remember seeing a t-shirt with "Deadhead Demands" . I can't remember them all, but I do recall " Wool mittens for Bob during his slide solos", and "No set breaks longer than the first set" .

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Poster: AltheaRose Date: Jun 11, 2014 6:57pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: tuning and knoodling

LOL! You should have bought it. Sounds like a classic. Of course now there's probably a digital copy out on eBay and you could make your own and all ...

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Poster: Quincy Date: Jun 11, 2014 2:15pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: tuning and knoodling

In some cases he was just waiting for Bob. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nekOzuD4bOs
is a must-see classic example... then, at 8:20, Bob waits for them. This happened other times -- Bob tries to bring it around and Jer's got his head buried jammin and is teeing off with Phil for another go 'round.

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Poster: Dudley Dead Date: Jun 11, 2014 8:43am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: tuning and knoodling

Didn't the tuning breaks get shorter as time went on ? Was the evolution of equipment, and more "techs" part of this ? In,say, 78 , those tuning breaks could really be interminable . Part of this I think is their wanting "everything to be exactly right", while they themselves had no natural ability toward perfectionism . They wanted to be "professional" , God knows they tried, but they just were not . I think it was always a struggle . "Never mind I stumble and fall" indeed . But their very human side, and lack of any real showbiz instinct was endearing . How many times did they come on stage and not launch with a big exciting bang , but dawdling around tuning adjusting, looking about ,spending the excitement that most other band would not want to waste . There were attempts at "entertainment" values, but at times it was more like you got to , as unclejohn52 says , "share time in their living room" with them .
As Phil once characterized the band, "lame but noble" .

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Poster: clashcity Date: Jun 11, 2014 9:38am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: tuning and knoodling

I think I heard the term - professional amateurs - used to describe the band at one point.

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Poster: Reade Date: Jun 11, 2014 9:29am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: tuning and knoodling

"But their very human side, and lack of any real showbiz instinct was endearing."

Very well put DD.
I remember being blown away in high school (glam-rock, makeup and one-piece jumpsuits were king at the time) the way these guys would come out in jeans and T Shirts. I'm not sure younger fans today properly understand just how against-the-grain these guys were at the time (early seventies) in terms of rock acts.
Yes Jerry was neurotic about tuning- but the more or less complete acceptance of it by the fanbase I always thought was part of what made the whole scene special. Traditional show business values and formulas were just completely out the window here. Same with the whole Phil-singing-thing. What was so endearing was the band and their fan base were each just so freaking bent that there were very few rules. Which appealed mightily to my adolescent sensibilities. (Then and now (<;)

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Poster: Dudley Dead Date: Jun 11, 2014 10:31am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: tuning and knoodling

Bob tried to interject some ... well I guess he though it was showbiz style into the shows . I believe somewhere in the Taper's Compendium 2, this was described as "Bob the happy cheese man" . His attempts are so corny that THEY are sort of endearing . I recall a quote form an article posted here a while ago, describing their appeal , "Jerry was so uncool, he was cool" .
I had a non-Dead fan friend form Tower, and she had been taken to see one of the JGB shows . She was not impressed . "He just sat there like a big lump" .
I could have said a lot of things about it being music, the show is yourself, look and a lll the crazy people around you , you wanted him to be like Kiss?... but some people expect a "show", and some a concert .

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Poster: Reade Date: Jun 11, 2014 11:32am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: tuning and knoodling

The Dead passed through town my junior year in high school and the music reviewer for the school paper- a senior - attended. He was a big man on campus- he had a girl friend and everything. He boned them really bad in his review and the line I remember verbatim: "They just stood there!" This was the era of David Bowie and Alice Cooper and Rock as Theatre and all that other shit.
I thought hell, that's what I actually like about those guys! They were serving the music in a kind of blue collar fashion- keeping front and center what was important, and what was not. THAT to me was the epitome of professionalism- having your priorities in order. So what if they were weirdos about tuning or weren't the greatest singers?

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Poster: AltheaRose Date: Jun 11, 2014 6:32pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: tuning and knoodling

Did they? I swear, listening to the music in its taped/digital form has distorted things for me. What I remember involves, as you say, lots of interminable breaks wherein the band stands there, tunes, members vanish, they tune some more. On tape it all runs together, though. Somehow what I recall as long, long minutes of nothing don't end up captured and then I wonder if I'm right.

Basically I remember lots of waiting when I saw them fairly often (late 70s/early 80s), and then when I saw them in the early '90s after a gap, that's not part of what I remember. Which doesn't mean much; memory can be wrong, things stick or don't stick, whatever. But DID it change?

Anyway ............. I now tend to think, like UJ, that from the band's perspective it was partly that they did a ton of shows and were basically just there playing all evening, and we the fans were "in their living room" ... they started out living-room style with the acid tests and they always had a big element of "family" around, I guess, so it was partly a show and partly a jam session or just some guys playing, and it just stayed that way. Maybe a coping strategy for them, in part. Less pressure to be perfect; a way to stay humble and not be "rock stars;" a way to keep having your smoke breaks and beers; all of the above.

From the fans' perspective -- well, as others have said, it was a point of pride for me that MY band didn't jump around in skin-tight leopard suits or come out pumping their fists in the air a la Spinal Tap and go "Hello Fill-in-the-Blank!" MY band just stood there. A lot. When they played, and when they didn't. And there was a lot of "didn't," and I swear THAT was a point of pride, too. Probably if Jerry had worn a flower pot on his head, that would have been a point of pride. Whatever they did was going to be taken as proof that THIS band is different and thus better :-)


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Poster: Mooding Date: Jun 16, 2014 12:16am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: tuning and knoodling

re: "Did they? I swear, listening to the music in its taped/digital form has distorted things for me. What I remember involves, as you say, lots of interminable breaks wherein the band stands there, tunes, members vanish, they tune some more. On tape it all runs together, though. Somehow what I recall as long, long minutes of nothing don't end up captured and then I wonder if I'm right."

You are right. It seems to me that LOTS of the between song time has been eliminated, my guess is that this occurred when digitization happened. I recall listening to plenty of cassettes (they're all still upstairs in the closet) with seemingly interminable (minutes!) between songs. I miss that.

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Poster: AltheaRose Date: Jun 16, 2014 2:39am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: tuning and knoodling

Plus presumably tapers pressed "stop." I doubt many would just let their tapes roll during the, er, Dead time. So that cut it drastically, and then the minutes when the tape was rolling but nothing really happened -- noodle, pause, noodle, oh look they're going to start!, pause, I guess not, noodle noodle -- got cut with digitization.

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Poster: unclejohn52 Date: Jun 11, 2014 6:13am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: tuning and knoodling

Yes, we can agree that Garcia could easily tune his guitar, and often did so in the middle of a song when a string went flat. This happened frequently, particularly due to his penchant for bending almost every note with his very strong left hand.

True, the long delays were annoying... mostly so he could have a smoke and Phil could pull on a beer... and so Weir could finally get HIS guitar in tune. You can hear Weir out of tune on lots of recordings from the early period, even through 1971. The lengthy shows were physically demanding, so some breaks are necessary - they weren't reeling off the hits and clearing out after 45 minutes. Each show was an evening with the GD - the audience got to share time in their living room. If you've ever played music, it's quite normal to break after every song, shoot the shit and rest your hands, voice and mind to prepare for the next song.

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Poster: c-freedom Date: Jun 11, 2014 7:07pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: tuning and knoodling

Also could look for shows from 1985 when the Grateful Dead had a tendency to jam from one song into the next a lot.
I remember almost dancing myself into the ground for a few of the tighter 85 shows!